A FARM STAND SALE, which is donating 20 percent of its proceeds toward the Merrymeeting Grange Hall community center effort, will run 9 a.m to 4 p.m. on Sept. 15. The historical society needs $60,000-$70,000 to pour a new foundation for the Bowdoinham building. CHRIS QUATTRUCCI / THE TIMES RECORD

A FARM STAND SALE, which is donating 20 percent of its proceeds toward the Merrymeeting Grange Hall community center effort, will run 9 a.m to 4 p.m. on Sept. 15. The historical society needs $60,000-$70,000 to pour a new foundation for the Bowdoinham building. CHRIS QUATTRUCCI / THE TIMES RECORD

BOWDOINHAM

When the Bowdoinham Historical Society purchased the Merrymeeting Grange Hall, the group knew it would take a village to bring a new community center to life. Turns out, it may also take a farm stand.

Donations are needed to get the community center, quite literally, off the ground. The former grange hall is more than a century old, and the historical society needs to raise the building to fix the foundation. According to treasurer Betsy Steen, they’ll need $60,000-$70,000 to excavate the cellar and pour foundation walls and a cellar floor.

The historical society has raised $30,000 in matching donations from anonymous donors as money comes in. Recently, Harvest Tide Organics has stepped up to provide a boost to the community center efforts.

“We wanted to do something for the community,” said Bethany Allen of Harvest Tide. “We have the farm stand and we’ve been thinking of ways we could use that.”

Every Wednesday, 20 percent of proceeds from the farm stand will go toward the community center cause. Allen operates Harvest Tide with partner Eric Ferguson. They stock the roadside farm stand that sets up along on Main Street.

The society doesn’t have to raise all of the funds up front, and the early stages could start in mid-September. It hasn’t stopped local volunteers from pitching in where they can. The building needed to be re-painted when it was purchased in May, and the inside of the historic building is starting to come to life.

“The hall is almost fully painted on the ground floor,” said Steen. “We were able to get a paint donation, but people have been great about offering their time. Normally we would pay for the supplies.”

Allen said the timing was right to help the community center. Wednesday donations will continue for as long as the stand is able to stay open this season.

Steen thinks of the hall’s kitchen when thinking about the agriculture tradition in town. When the kitchen is ready, she has ideas for tying local farms into the kitchen. She believes the community center could be a resource to prevent any produce from being wasted in town.

“There’s a lot of people that keep asking about the kitchen,” Steen said. “With our farms here in town, we have some ideas.”

The building will remain open at least until Celebrate Bowdoinham on Sept. 8 because of a long-standing tradition with the farming community.

“For many years, it’s been the home of the farming display,” said Steen. “I knew we couldn’t raise the building until after that.”

The funds from one of the historical society’s largest annual fundraisers will go toward the community center project. The society is gearing up for the its Super Yard Sale on Sept. 15. The event takes place at the historical society’s meeting house at the corner of River Road and Browns Point Road. Donations are accepted, as well as the opportunity to have a table at the sale. The money goes directly into historical society projects.

“It goes to whatever we’re working on at the time,” said Steen.

In prior years, the money has been used to help restore Jellerson School and support its program of inviting classes to experience a school day in 1910-1911. Funds also went toward creating the society’s Lancaster Bishope Archive and Research Room in the Coombs Municipal Building.

[email protected]timesrecord.com

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: